March 07, 2014

Why can’t lending to female entrepreneurs be leveraged as much as lending to “infallible” sovereigns?

Sir, Gillian Tett writes about Goldman teaming up with the International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, by putting $50m into a $600m fund that would extend loans to 100.000 cash starved female entrepreneurs, “Goldman discovers that money can buy respect”, March 7.

That represents a 12 to 1 leverage which, when compared to the 33 to 1 leverage Basel III minimum allowed by the 3% leverage ratio, seems extremely small, in relative terms. As I see it there is no doubt that a well diversified portfolio of loans to female (or male) entrepreneurs must be more productive and safer than a portfolio concentrated in loans to some infallible sovereign, to the housing sector or to someone of the AAAristocracy. If so the fund instead of $600m could be $1.650. 

In conclusion, Morgan and the World Bank should be able to do much better for women entrepreneurs by lobbying the Basel Committee… though I do understand that the publicity value of such efforts might not be that large.